Historical fashion exhibit now open at Fairfield Museum

A full house of fashion fans got a sneak peak at the Fairfield Museum and History Center’s newest exhibit, “In Vogue: A Runway of Vintage Fashion,” including a personalized tour led by museum curator Casey Lewis.

A kick-off luncheon and fashion show, featuring pieces from designer Jennifer Butler of Fairfield, sold out and drew rave reviews from attendees. The exhibit is now open to the public and will run through Jan. 5.

Focusing on items pulled directly from the museum’s 100-year-old collection — one of the most comprehensive in western Connecticut — the  exhibit features the fashion-forward women of Fairfield throughout the Colonial, Regency, Edwardian and Victorian eras from 1780 to 1920.

One highlight is a 1781 blue silk damask wedding gown worn by 14-year-old Lucy Nichols, who married Fairfield Rev. Philo Shelton on April 15, 1781.

“White was not worn in weddings until Queen Victoria wore a white gown in her 1840 wedding to Prince Albert,” Lewis said.

Another notable garment is a lingerie robe from 1900 from the House of Worth, which was started in Paris in 1858 by Charles Frederick Worth.

“At the time, Paris was the center of culture, stately occasions, and flamboyant parties, and Worth was the dressmaker to go to for haute couture,” Lewis said. “To own a gown with a Worth label was as elite as one could get, especially in America where women were separated from the House of Worth by an entire ocean.”

Also on display is an array of hats, shoes, and vintage prints from Godey’s Ladies Magazine, Vogue and other fashion publications from 1850 to 1910.


Museum curator Casey Lewis describes exhibit pieces to kick-off attendees.